Healthy recipes and easy garden plans inspire eating well in this new cookbook.

Healthy recipes and easy garden plans inspire eating well in this new cookbook.

As she's done for the last three years, First Lady Michelle Obama is getting her hands dirty sowing seeds in the White House kitchen garden this spring. When Mrs. Obama began envisioning a garden during the 2008 presidential campaign, "it was just a pipe dream," she said. "And then it started unfolding in a way that I couldn't have imagined, where we've produced thousands of pounds of food." The garden was one of the first efforts in her "Let's Move" campaign to help kids eat healthier, exercise more and encourage food manufacturers to offer healthier options. Mrs. Obama tells the story of the garden, including how daughters Sasha and Malia helped inspire its creation, in her new book American Grown (Crown, May 2012). The book features easy garden plans and mouthwatering recipes from White House chefs. Here she shares White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford's recipe for one of the season's first crops.

Minted Spring Pea Salad

Minted Spring Pea Salad


2 1/2 cups shelled fresh green peas
1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small leek, cleaned, white part only, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the peas into the water and cook for no more than 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the peas into a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry with a towel. Puree ½ cup of the peas in a blender.
2. Place the peas, pea puree, shallot and leek in a medium, nonreactive bowl and toss gently to combine.
3. Add the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss gently until the vegetables are coated. Serve immediately.

Photo Credit: Quentin Bacon

March/April 2012